These horses are one of the oldest,
purest horse breeds found today. They can be compared to the Icelandic
pony, in that they also are of ancient origin and have been bred
purely, due at least in part to isolated conditions. The Faeroe
Islands are located in the North Atlantic Ocean between Iceland
and the Shetland Islands. There are seventeen inhabited islands,
with several islets and reefs, covering 540 square miles in total.
The islands have an oceanic climate and have mild weather, with
little variation. There is frequently fog and rain approximately
60 inches per year. Due to the strong winds and common gales
of wind, the island is treeless.
The Faeroe Island Horse resemble the
horses brought to Europe from Asia around 200 AD. They were brought
to the islands by the early Celtic and Scandinavian settlers. Before
the formation of the Faeroe Horse breed association, there were
only five individual Faeroe horses left in existence. By the year
1988, numbers increased to 27, due to extreme preservation efforts
of the concerned breeders. All 27 of the animals have been entered
into the studbook, and their blood types have been identified. They
have been evaluated for breeding purposes, and out of the 27, 24
of the horses have been approved for breeding.
The Faeroe Island Horses are mostly
bay, although they can also be black. They are sometimes found in
brown, but never in grey or skewbald. Although it is very rare,
a palomino or pale dun horse sometimes shows up in the breed. Their
hair is very thick and grows quite heavy in the winter.
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